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Nineteen year old driver Mckayler Barnes enjoyed the biggest moment in her short career when she drove her first winner on Wednesday night at Young. Barnes drove King Caractacus for trainer Anne Hancock and after hitting the line was unsure whether she had brought up her maiden win. "It was pretty close when we hit the line and I wasn't sure whether I'd won or not, then Andrew (Brooks) who drove the second placegetter Mercy Mercy said to me 'I think I got you' straight after the line which made me even more uncertain," Barnes said. "It was a very special feeling when I realised that I won and Andrew came past and said 'your horse must have a big head because I was sure that I got you', but it meant a lot to get that first winner." Barnes is the younger sister of talented reinswoman Kylie Barnes. "I was sure I was going to win my first race a few weeks ago (March 25) when I drove Ali Mendes in a lady drivers' race at Bathurst, I was all set to win and Kylie came past and beat me on Amanda Von." "I finished second in my first ever race drive on Richrocknrustler in June of last year so it is nice to get my first win." Barnes was having her 22nd race drive on Wednesday evening and has been supported by a number of stables. "I have worked for Steve Turnbull for two years and I have had a few drives for him, I have driven King Caractacus on a couple of occasions and Aaron Garaty and Kylie have given me a few drives as well, so I'm very thankful for the opportunities I get." "I grew up around horses and helped Anthony Simiana and Peter Sullivan a bit while I was still at school before I made the move to Bathurst to work for the Turnbull stable and I have learned a lot." All of the recent rain forced Barnes to give up a drive at Newcastle on Thursday afternoon. "I was meant to go up to Newcastle and have a drive the next day but because of all the rain some of the roads were cut and I was unable to get there." "Hopefully my second winner is just around the corner." Greg Hayes

Tuesday saw the Queensland Young Guns travel to Sydney for the New South Wales leg of harness racings State of Origin Young Drivers Championship. The joint initiative between Racing Queensland and Harness Racing New South Wales was the brainchild of outgoing Albion Park Harness Racing Club Chairman Kevin Seymour AM. The group consists of 10 young trotting participants who were selected to engage in a range of programs aimed at educating the group to further their knowledge, not only in the sport but in business, presentation and media. The Young Guns selected for the initial group training are Pete McMullen, Chantal Turpin, Hayden Barnes, Amy Rees, Ryan Veivers, Narissa McMullen, Dannielle McMullen, Brittney Graham, Trent Moffat and Isobel Ross. With early starts not being a problem for this group, they gathered in the wee hours at Brisbane Airport ready to jet off to Sydney for a day full of programmed activities. Looking extremely smart in their team uniform, the professional look the team displayed was a credit to all. Arriving in Sydney, first stop following a trek over the Harbour Bridge was the Frenchs Forest studios of SKY Channel. The group were given a tour of the studios and were able to meet and question some of the SKY ‘stable of stars’. Narissa and Trent were then interviewed for a segment of In The Gig that aired on Tuesday night. Venturing from the North-East back to the South-West, it was all aboard the express to Menangle. Of the 10 Young Guns, 5 were selected in Queensland’s starting lineup with 1 on the ‘bench’. Unfortunately for Pete McMullen, he met the wrath of stewards at Albion Park on Saturday night, meaning Brittany Graham was called into the starting lineup. Brittany joined the other starters, Narissa McMullen, Chantal Turpin, Trent Moffat and Amy Rees to provide the Queensland team with a strong advantage in experience. The Queenslanders boasted a combined total of 739 career wins with Narissa and Chantal both having over 300 wins a piece going into the Series opener. Taking to the track in the New South Wales lineup were Kasey Hocking, Chris Geary, Kylie Barnes, Cameron Jones and Todd Prest with a combined total of 128 wins. The total lifetime winners counted for little once the on track action started, especially considering that only Chantal and Narissa had previously driven at the famed Menangle circuit. Kylie Barnes, the most experienced of the Sky Blue Brigade put on a clinic in the first 2 races to show the Maroons that the Blues would not be easy-beats on their own dirt. In cold, wet and windy conditions the first race saw two scratchings, leaving both teams one runner short with Trent Moffat and Todd Prest left to cheer from the stands. In a great finish where only 5 metres separated the field, Kylie Barnes came with a well-timed run aboard Miss Artistic Tara to score majority points over Cameron Jones. Narissa McMullen was Queensland’s first finisher, coming in third position. Heat Two saw victory once again go to the Blues and once again it was Kylie Barnes to the fore. As the field turned for home, Barnes driving the race favourite El Chango, loomed up to the leader Eagles Ace and looked to run right on by. However, Narissa McMullen driving Eagles Ace fought back, as did Bazzas Art for Chantal Turpin. As the trio drove down to the wire, El Chango packed too many guns and scored a gutsy victory for his cartel of owners. Turpin finished second with Narissa third. It was left until the last Heat for Queensland to restore some pride and Trent Moffat provided the right tonic aboard Fellas R Trouble. Leading off the barrier, “The Moff” gave no others a look in with a very controlled drive to take the field all the way in a barrier to box performance. Brittany Graham making the most of her call up to the starting lineup ran into second place with the outsider of the field Major Command to provide the quinella to Queensland. Chris Geary finished third to avoid a Queensland trifecta. The series now moves to Albion Park for the deciding three Heats on Friday and early indications see it going down to the wire, despite New South Wales holding a 17 point lead. TrotTips Michael Polster’s form assessment sees two of those heats going to Queensland. Racing Queensland  

There will be no love lost between Queensland's top young harness racing drivers and their New South Wales counterparts when they go head to head in the inaugural Young Drivers State of Origin Series later this month. The Queensland team of Peter McMullen, Chantal Turpin, Trent Moffatt, Narissa McMullen and Amy Rees will travel to Menangle for the series opener on August 26 before returning to their home turf at Albion Park on August 29. The joint initiative between Racing Queensland and Harness Racing New South Wales was the brainchild of outgoing Albion Park Harness Racing Club Chairman Kevin Seymour AM. Racing Queensland Chief Executive Darren Condon said the state had some outstanding talent in its junior ranks and the six-race series would provide invaluable experience for both teams. "To take these young drivers down to New South Wales and compete at a venue like Menangle is an experience they could well have had to wait many years for and this series gives them the opportunity to do it now," Mr Condon said. "Being able to compete on different tracks against the best young drivers in other states does wonders for a young driver's confidence, but they can also build a network in another state that could open up opportunities for them in the future. "Harness Racing certainly has a high rate of younger participants in Queensland and we are proud to able to give the Young Guns this opportunity and be part of such a great initiative." The New South Wales team consists of Cameron Jones, Chris Geary, Kasey Hocking, Kylie Barnes and Todd Prest. Harness Racing NSW Chief Executive Sam Nati said providing opportunities like this for the young participants in his state is vital for the future of the sport. "We are all acutely aware of the need to nurture the next generation of trainers and drivers, "Mr Nati said. "Giving them the opportunity to participate in showcase events such as this not only provides a great incentive, but just as importantly, valuable learning opportunities. "Additionally it's very satisfying to achieve an outcome with another state controlling body which is mutually beneficial to our respective longer term objectives." Racing Queensland and Harness Racing NSW have confirmed a boost to the prize pool for the six races with each worth $10,000. New South Wales will launch the series with three races scheduled on Tuesday 26 August at Menangle, with the Queensland final scheduled for Friday 29 August at Albion Park. For further information please contact: Queensland Lucy McIntosh (Brand Manager - Harness, Racing Queensland) 0457 743 908 New South Wales Sam Nati (CEO - Harness Racing NSW) 02 9722 6600                  

Young Kiwi bred harness racing reinsman Cameron Jones has been selected to represent New South Wales in the State Of Origin next month. The State Of Origin is a brand new junior drivers series which was put together by Harness Racing New South Waleswith Racing Queensland. Jones, who has been working for Menangle trainer Kerryann Turner for over 18 months, is one of a five-strong team for the Blues. The other four young drivers that have been selected for New South Wales are Chris Geary, Todd Priest, Kylie Barnes, and Kasey Hocking. Those five drivers will go head-to-head with five young reinsman from Queensland in races in both states. The series will start in New South Wales with 2-3 State Of Origin races at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Tuesday August 18 before the series shifts to Queensland. On Thursday August 20 the ten reinsman will enjoy a social day on Mr Kevin Seymour’s boat ‘Euphoria’ before competing in 2-3 races at Albion Park the following night. Seventeen-year-old Jones said he was excited to get the opportunity to compete in the inaugural running of the State Of Origin. “It’s a good opportunity and also a chance for me to meet new people and drive in Queensland for the first time,” said Jones, who has enjoyed a good first season in the sulky. Jones has won fifteen races to date, including two last week, and looks a good chance to add to his tally tomorrow when he takes the reins behind Kiwi export Im El Diablo in race eight at Menangle. Cameron has driven him in six of his seven starts in Australia for three wins and a further three placings. “We got him over on a 50/50 deal and he has done a very good job so far,” said Jones. “He flew home for third after being held up at the top of the straight last week but he has good gate speed and a handy draw this week so he shouldn’t be unlucky again,” he added. “It’s his first start over 2300 metres since he has been over here but as long as he gets a couple of easy sectionals he will take will take a lot of beating,” said Jones. “He has a very good turn of foot,” he concluded. By Mitchell Robertson

Holmesville trainer Aaron Garaty headed to Brisbane on the weekend with a team of four horses and is hoping to bring home his share of the Queensland prize money. Garaty is expecting to be away for at least a fortnight and has set himself a couple of goals during his trip. "The owner of The Puritan had paid up for the Seymour Nursery and it was always the plan to bring him up to Brisbane to give him a chance to qualify for the final," Garaty said. "I've also brought Cold Kentucky Rain, Pearl Art and Mincarlie with me and I'm hoping Mincarlie can be competitive in the M0's in Brisbane because I have been really happy with her form in New South Wales and her run at Menangle in the Country Series Final behind Major Gambler was very solid." Garaty is currently suspended from driving but has taken his partner Kylie Barnes with him and she will be doing the driving until at least May 21. "I got 21 days at the end of April but Kylie has been doing a great job, the owners have plenty of confidence in her and she will be doing the driving." "The horses are staying at Ricky Thurlow's, it is a little bit like a working holiday because we only have the four to look after up here whereas if I was at home I would be in charge of ten or twelve horses." Cold Kentucky Rain won at Bankstown last week and has shown some consistent form since resuming from a short break. "She's only had four starts back, she has won one and been placed twice so I can't ask much more of her at the moment." "Pearl Art has run second at her past two, she just needs a little bit of luck in her races and I think she might be able to win one soon." By Greg Hayes - SKY Racing Nancy O'Grady | Executive Assistant | Harness Racing New South Wales |      

United Nations International Day of People with Disability   Sydney’s Bankstown Paceway harness racing club will mark the United Nations International Day of People with Disability (on Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013) by partnering with Sylvanvale Disability Services and Civic Lifestyles to host the Inaugural Accessibility Art Exhibition, No Barriers, in the Phil Lopez OBE Grandstand on Group 1 M. H. Treuer Memorial Gala Race Night, Saturday, December 7th, 2013.   ‘United Nations International Day of People with Disability plays an important role in promoting the inclusion of people with disability in all aspects of life – and Bankstown Paceway is elated to join with Sylvanvale Disability Services and Civic Lifestyles in commemorating the abilities and achievements of people with disability,’ Bankstown Paceway director Andrew Ho told Harnesslink.   ‘The International Day of People with Disability provides an opportunity for each and every one of us to increase our awareness of disability and to reflect on the barriers to accessibility,’ Mr Ho said.   ‘No Barriers: The Inaugural Accessibility Art Exhibition at Bankstown Paceway is about all of us recognising and celebrating the achievements of people with disability in our community, continuing our mission to break down barriers for people with disability and opening the doors for an inclusive society through our shared passion for art and the sport of harness racing,’ Mr Ho added.   The Inaugural Accessibility Art Exhibition, No Barriers, will be held in the Phil Lopez OBE Grandstand, Bankstown Paceway, 178 Eldridge Road, Bankstown, on Group 1 M. H. Treuer Memorial Gala Race Night, Saturday, December 7th, 2013, from 5.00 pm.  Entry is free.   A race night dinner at Bankstown Paceway featuring performances from the cast of The Burning Log Comedy Theatre Restaurant, hosted by Sylvanvale Disability Services and Civic Lifestyles, will also be held on the night.  Bookings can be made by calling 1300 843 564 or 1300 THE LOG.   Day and night racing returns to Bankstown Paceway   ‘Afternoon harness racing – as well as the spectacle of night racing under the ribbon of light – will return to Condell Park’s Bankstown Paceway trotting track for the Allied Express Summer Carnival of Harness Racing which begins on Monday afternoon, December 2nd, 2013,’ Bankstown Paceway director Andrew Ho has told Harnesslink.   ‘This will be followed by the historic 30th Anniversary Group 1 M. H. Treuer Memorial Gala Race Night on Saturday, December 7th, 2013, Sydney Christmas Cup on Monday, December 16th, 2013, Elvis Birthday Race Day on Friday, January 3rd, 2014, Year of the Horse Race Day on Monday, February 3rd, 2014, and Cancer Council Relay for Life Race Day on Friday, February 28th, 2014,’ Mr Ho said.   ‘Harness racing’s “King of Condell Park”, dual Bankstown Paceway annual drivers premiership winner Josh Willick, hopes to make it three years in row – taking an early lead in the 2013/14 season following his breathtaking five race wins during the Bankstown City Council Cup Carnival of Harness Racing,’ he said.   ‘The 2008 Grand Circuit race winning driver and the only Condell Park resident in a generation to personally claim the coveted Group 1 M. H. Treuer Memorial trophy (with Robin Hood) has been named “Driver of the Year” for the last two seasons – after defeating his Ellis Street neighbour, triple Group 1 race winning driver Lauren Panella.   ‘The Condell Park dad currently leads the 2013/14 drivers premiership on seventeen points from his five race wins and one placing.   ‘He is followed by last year’s state drivers premiership winner Amanda Turnbull on fourteen points from her two wins and four placings,  former Bankstown Paceway board member Glenn McElhinney on eleven points from his three wins and one placing, Colin McDowell and David Morris on eight points each, Steve Turnbull on six points, Jim Douglass, Blake Fitzpatrick and Robert Morris on five points each, and Kylie Barnes and Mat Rue on three points each,’ Mr Ho added.   Racecourse entry is free for all harness race meetings at Condell Park’s Bankstown Paceway, 178 Eldridge Road, Bankstown, which will be held on the following days during the Allied Express Summer Carnival of Harness Racing: Monday 2 December 2013 – Race 1 at 1.39 pm (Gates open at 11 am) – M. H. Treuer Memorial Prelude Race Day (Day Race Meeting); SATURDAY 7 DECEMBER 2013 – Race 1 at 6.10 pm (Gates open at 5 pm) – 30TH ANNIVERSARY GROUP 1 M. H. TREUER MEMORIAL GALA RACE NIGHT (NIGHT RACE MEETING); Monday 16 December 2013 – Race 1 at 1.39 pm (Gates open at 11 am) – Christmas Cup Race Day (Day Race Meeting); Friday 3 January 2014 – Race 1 at 2.04 pm – Elvis Birthday Race Day (Day Race Meeting); Monday 3 February 2014 – Race 1 after 1 pm – Year of the Horse New Year Cup Race Day (Day Race Meeting); and Friday 28 February 2014 – Race 1 after 1 pm – Cancer Council Relay for Life Race Day (Day Race Meeting). Bookings for race day lunch and race night dining packages can be made at admin@bankstownpaceway.com.au or on 02 9708 4111.   By Megan J Lavender  

Sydney’s Bankstown Paceway harness racing club has dominated last Saturday night’s (October 26th, 2013) Harness Racing New South Wales (HRNSW) Industry Awards. ‘This is most number of award wins ever claimed by Bankstown Paceway – or, probably, by any other race club ever – in the time since state based awards began being given out,’ Bankstown Paceway president and former HRNSW board member Les Bentley told Harnesslink. ‘It is the dawn of a new golden age of harness racing for Bankstown – with our horses, our drivers and even our club administrators and volunteers lauded as the very best in the whole of New South Wales,’ Mr Bentley added. 2012/13 Harness Racing New South Wales Industry Awards wins by Bankstown Paceway were: a.. New South Wales Centurion: Bankstown Paceway champion driver Lauren Panella of Ellis Street, Condell Park, was inducted as a New South Wales Centurion for 100 or more race wins in New South Wales during the 2012/2013 season; and a.. South Wales Junior Driver Encouragement Award (Metropolitan): Bankstown Paceway champion driver Lauren Panella of Ellis Street, Condell Park, claimed the New South Wales Junior Driver Encouragement Award (Metropolitan) – beating Alex Alchin, Kylie Barnes and Todd McCarthy (for this award, drivers are selected on a number of criteria including general behaviour, conduct in the Stewards Room, driving record, performance statistics and professionalism); and a.. New South Wales Volunteer Award: Bankstown Paceway committeeman Andrew Ho claimed the New South Wales Volunteer Award (for the second year in a row, an award was made to each nominee); and a.. New South Wales Volunteer Award: Bankstown Paceway committeewoman Megan Lavender claimed the New South Wales Volunteer Award (for the second year in a row, an award was made to each nominee); and a.. New South Wales Volunteer Award: Bankstown Paceway veteran horseman Bert Read of Ellis Street, Condell Park, claimed the New South Wales Volunteer Award (for the second year in a row, an award was made to each nominee); and a.. New South Wales Three-Year-Old Colt or Gelding Pacer of the Year: Three-year-old bay gelding, Home of the Brave, owned by Bankstown Paceway patrons and honorary life members Colin and Cheryl McDowell of Ellis Street, Condell Park, and trained by their son Dean McDowell, claimed the New South Wales Three-Year-Old Colt or Gelding Pacer of the Year – defeating champion three-year-old standardbred horses Be Brave, Caesar Augustus, Ee And Em Stride, Sir Eric NZ and Ultimate Art (for this award, a horse from any jurisdiction may be considered for nomination; however there are two separate criteria for voting – horses trained in NSW can be judged on all performances that season, while horses trained outside of New South Wales can only be judged on those performances in New South Wales during the 2012/2013 season); and a.. New South Wales Aged Entire or Gelding Pacer of the Year: Six-year-old bay gelding, Gaius Caesar NZ, trained by third generation Bankstown Paceway member Darren Binskin of Ellis Street, Condell Park, and driven by Lauren Panella of Ellis Street, Condell Park, claimed the New South Wales Aged Entire or Gelding Pacer of the Year – defeating champion aged standardbred horses Chariot King, Excel Stride, Ideal Scott NZ, Mach Alert NZ, Mach Beauty and even four-time Treuer Memorial winner Washakie NZ (for this award, a horse from any jurisdiction may be considered for nomination; however there are two separate criteria for voting – horses trained in NSW can be judged on all performances that season, while horses trained outside of New South Wales can only be judged on those performances in New South Wales during the 2012/2013 season); and a.. New South Wales Aged Horse of the Year: Six-year-old bay gelding, Gaius Caesar NZ, trained by third generation Bankstown Paceway member Darren Binskin of Ellis Street, Condell Park, and driven by Lauren Panella of Ellis Street, Condell Park, claimed the New South Wales Aged Horse of the Year – defeating NSW Aged Trotter of the Year, Keystone Del NZ, and NSW Aged Mare Pacer of the Year, Baby Bling NZ, to receive one of the most coveted accolades in Australian harness racing. The 2012/13 Harness Racing New South Wales Industry Awards were presented at a gala awards dinner at Sydney’s Hilton Hotel last Saturday night (October 26th, 2013).  

The 2012/13 HRNSW Industry Awards night was held at the Hilton Hotel Sydney on Saturday night where the feats of both humans and equines were recognised. Exciting filly Frith was unanimously named NSW Horse of The Year after a scintillating three-year-old season which included the NSW Breeders Challenge, Victorian Breeders Crown, WA and Victorian Oaks. The 3YO of the year was also taken out by Frith whilst Bling It On took the honours in the 2YO category. The Nicole Molander-trained Keystone Del was named Trotter of The Year and Gaius Caesar won the open aged horse division. The Board and staff of HRNSW would like to congratulate the following award winners:   Award Nominees Winner McLachlan Thorpe & Partners Carnival of Cups - Leading Trotting Trainer   Blake Fitzpatrick   Blake Fitzpatrick   Goulburn HRC Carnival of Cups - Leading Driver   Amanda Turnbull   Amanda Turnbull   NSW Standardbred Owners Association Carnival of Cups - Leading Trainer   Steve Turnbull   Steve Turnbull   Albury HRC Carnival of Cups - Leading Horse   Make Some Magic NZ   Make Some Magic NZ   Tabcorp Carnival of Cups - Best Level 1 Meeting   Coolamon HRC Maitland HRC Penrith HRC   Maitland HRC   Tabcorp Carnival of Cups - Best Level 2 Meeting   Eugowra HRC Fairfield HRC Orange HRC Orange HRC   Tabcorp Carnival of Cups - Best Level 3 Meeting   Blayney HRC Broken Hill HRC Griffith HRC   Broken Hill HRC   Tabcorp Centurions   Amanda Turnbull Lauren Panella Blake Fitzpatrick Luke McCarthy Robert Morris Steve Turnbull Shane Tritton Belinda McCarthy   All   Daily Form Service Junior Driver Encouragement Award (Country)   Andrew Pitt Ashleigh Camilleri Grace Grant Paul Diebert Sam Hewitt   Paul Diebert   Lexus of Parramatta Junior Driver Encouragement Award (Metro)   Alex Alchin Kylie Barnes Lauren Panella Todd McCarthy   Lauren Panella   OAMPS Champion Junior Driver   Amanda Turnbull   Amanda Turnbull   OAMPS Champion Driver   Amanda Turnbull Amanda Turnbull OAMPS Champion Trainer   Steve Turnbull Steve Turnbull   National Trotguide Best Coverage by a Regional Newspaper   The Daily Advertiser - Wagga The Irrigator - Leeton The Maitland - Mercury   The Daily Advertiser Wagga   PMG Media Best Coverage by a Regional Television Station   Harbor Television Productions NBN Newcastle Prime 7 Wagga   NBN Newcastle   Garrards Horse & Hound NSW Volunteer Appreciation Awards                         Stephen Hunt Cootamundra HRC Greg Maxwell Young HRC John Den Eugowra HRC  Robert Chew Bathurst HRC Megan Lavender Bankstown HRC Andrew Ho Bankstown HRC Bert Read Bankstown HRC   All Penrith HRC Don Clough Appreciation Award   Richard Earnshaw   Richard Earnshaw   Harness Breeders NSW Broodmare of the Year   Falcon Black Beauty NZ Jackie Kelly Left For Me Full Pleasure Rochelle Hanover   Left For Me   Pepper Tree Farm NSW Sire of the Year   Presidential Ball USA Tinted Cloud USA Pacific Rocket Ifihadyourluck USA John Street North USA   Presidential Ball USA   Yirribee Stud in conjunction with Alabar Outstanding Service to the Breeding Industry   Pepper Tree Farm Pepper Tree Farm   Breckon Farm NSW 2YO Trotter of the Year   My Valerie NZ Swishbye Verbier   My Valerie NZ   Addington Raceway NSW 2YO Filly Pacer of the Year   Denises Legacy Distant Memory Majestic Amy Ocean Diva Spicy Stride   Distant Memory   House of Brook NSW 2YO C&G Pacer of the Year   Allblack Stride NZ All Eyes On Us Bling It On Business In Motion Lettucerockthem   Bling It On   Sky Racing NSW 2YO of the Year   My Valerie NZ Distant Memory Bling It On   Bling It On   Bulli HRC NSW 3YO Trotter of the Year   Duchess Ella Nickys Invasion Vincennes   Duchess Ella   Sir Lincoln NSW 3YO Filly Pacer of the Year                 Frith Gypsy Babe Im Tondelayo Laaganoosh Tarelle   Frith   Yirribee Stud in conjunction with Alabar NSW 3YO C&G Pacer of the Year   Be Brave Caesar Augustus Ee And Em Stride Home Of The Brave Sir Eric NZ Ultimate Art   Home Of The Brave   Tabcorp NSW 3YO of the Year   Duchess Ella Frith Home Of The Brave Frith   NSWHRC NSW Aged Trotter of the Year   Keystone Del NZ King Of Strathfield NZ Neville Vaughan NZ   Keystone Del NZ   Cordina Farms NSW Aged Mare Pacer of the Year   Baby Bling NZ Forever Gold Obahma Joy Our Sixpence NZ   Baby Bling NZ   Harness Racing Travelworld NSW Aged E&G Pacer of the Year   Chariot King Excel Stride Gaius Caesar NZ Ideal Scott NZ Mach Alert NZ Mach Beauty Washakie NZ   Gaius Caesar   Garrards Horse & Hound NSW Aged Horse of the Year   Keystone Del NZ Baby Bling NZ Gaius Caesar   Gaius Caesar   OAMPS - NSW Horse of The Year   Bling It On Frith Gaius Caesar   Frith        

SOME of Australia’s most promising indigenous reinsmen and women will head for Sydney in two weeks in a bid to get their name on a trophy that is already becoming hotly-contested . . . the third annual Indigenous Drivers Invitation Stakes at Tabcorp Park Menangle. Sponsored by Michael Brown Planning Strategies the race will deliver the victor the National title. In a race that seems to gain momentum each year, Victorian pair Josh Aiken and Sammy Kilgour are the latest to join the select field. Also in the field are young Queenslander Hayden Green, veteran Forbes driver Jeff Brown and promising young Newcastle driver Kylie Barnes. Experienced Sydney reinsmen Jimmy Brown and David Caffyn have indicated their desperation to get their hands on the title of Indigenous Driving Champion, while defending champion Royce Gregory-Jack from Albury was delighted to be invited back to chase a rare double. Bruce O’Brien, the veteran of the field at 56, won the first Indigenous Drivers race and is also keen for a repeat effort in 2013. Other races are programmed for the annual Fishers’ Ghost meeting on Sunday afternoon, October 27 are races for short, tall, local and travelling horses as well as for drivers, trainers and horses which have not won a race at Tabcorp Park Menangle. The field for the Indigenous Drivers Invitation Stakes is: Driver Age No. of winners Josh Aiken 20 5 Kylie Barnes 22 35 Jimmy Brown 40 319 Jeff Brown 48 69 David Caffyn 39 132 Royce Gregory-Jack 25 35 Hayden Green 21 49 Sammy Kilgour 21 3 Bruce O’Brien 56 15   The final position in the field is still open with the club seeking interest from indigenous drivers. For further information telephone NSWHRC racing manager David Wonson on (02) 4645 2200.

‘Harness racing’s “King of Condell Park”, dual Bankstown Paceway annual drivers premiership winner Josh Willick, hopes to make it three years in row – taking an early lead in the 2013/14 season following his breathtaking five race wins during the Bankstown City Council Cup Carnival of Harness Racing,’ Bankstown Paceway president Les Bentley has told Harnesslink. ‘The 2008 Grand Circuit race winning driver and the only Condell Park resident in a generation to personally claim the coveted Group 1 M. H. Treuer Memorial trophy (with Robin Hood) has been named “Driver of the Year” for the last two seasons – after defeating his Ellis Street neighbour, triple Group 1 race winning driver Lauren Panella,’ Mr Bentley said. ‘The Condell Park dad currently leads the 2013/14 drivers premiership on seventeen points from his five race wins and one placing,’ the president said. ‘He is followed by last year’s state drivers premiership winner Amanda Turnbull on fourteen points from her two wins and four placings, former Bankstown Paceway board member Glenn McElhinney on eleven points from his three wins and one placing, Colin McDowell and David Morris on eight points each, Steve Turnbull on six points, Jim Douglass, Blake Fitzpatrick and Robert Morris on five points each, and Kylie Barnes and Mat Rue on three points each,’ Mr Bentley added. Photo: The King of Condell Park, 2011/12 and 2012/13 Bankstown Paceway Driver of the Year Joshua Willick, claims victory in the Allied Express Pace with five year old brown gelding Ambush Prince for trainer Dean McDowell. Megan J. Lavender

Wet, sloppy conditions kept the crowd small but didn’t prevent very competitive racing at last Wednesday’s Bathurst meeting. Ash Siejka’s training double, and an exceptional debut by Think It Through, were the highlights. On debut in a 2YO Fillies class but a very short-priced favourite on the strength of a 2:00 trial win at Young, Think It Through managed the potentially tricky inside draw then sped away in front to open up a gap of at least 50 metres  during the middle stages of the race. Halfway through the second lap, trainer-driver John Vautin started to shake her up as the huge gap narrowed somewhat, and many in the stand were beginning to wonder if this Vo Rogue-like performance would end in an upset. They needn’t have worried. Though getting very weary after highballing in front in very slushy conditions, she held on by a mere 19 metres to post the first of what will surely be numerous career victories.  Our Lissome NZ and Most Admired gave Steve Turnbull the minor placings. The sectional times make interesting reading. After a slow lead time as she found her footing out of the gate, she dashed through the middle 1200 metres in 1:30.0 flat, leaving all her rivals off the bit and gasping for oxygen, before a telling 33.6 final quarter, for a mile rate of 2:03.2 . A  strapping type very reminiscent of her sire Ponder, the half-sister to Ultimate Art was purchased by  Lester and Linda Hewitt from the Micallef draft  at the 2012 Gold Crown Sale for $8,000 , the day after that year’s Crown winner had easily defeated their runner in a Crown heat . To paraphrase a familiar expression, they reckoned “ if you can’t beat ‘em,  get one of ‘em. “ John Vautin hasn’t seen much of Bathurst this season, since basing himself at Cowra. Lester Hewitt is an accomplished trainer in his own right, a clear leader of the UDR Trainers Premiership at Bathurst this season, but he’s supported his former stable driver with this filly, the undoubted star of Toby Vautin’s small team. For all of them, there’s much to look forward to. In My Life NZ, the first leg of Ashlee Siejka’s training double, set the pattern for the evening by making a fast move mid-race to the death, and then outstaying favourite Two Striking and the sweet-seating Im No Lady. The last half took 60.4, with the mile rate of 2:04.8 for the 2130 metres  C O event. Recent Rising Stars placegetter Kylie Barnes handled the driving duties for Siejka’s second winner Nickys Passion NZ, in a C2-C3 sprint class, sitting outside the lead and proving too strong for Miners Lane, which had enjoyed the one-one trail, and  stablemate Stirling William, which had led. The mile rate of 2:02 was very good in the conditions, and the last half was run in a minute flat. Abercrombie Alice  (Graham Betts for Leon Bennetts) maintained her excellent recent form with another all-the-way win, in a 3CO-3C1 sprint event. Courtesy of a neat piece of driving, and some good fortune, she found the lead around the first bend after coming from barrier 9. Hallycould held on in the death seat for second, with the original occupant of that spot and then trailer, Master Macca, getting the minor placing. Twenty Three Penny’s winning effort , in a C1 sprint class, was more conventional, with John O’Shea spearing the short-priced favourite straight to the front and controlling the race throughout. She zipped up the back in 28.7 , the night’s fastest quarter, putting the result beyond doubt, and cruised home in 31.0 to defeat  Positive Thinking and Runs On Love, which had followed her on the pegs throughout. The mile rate was 2:04. It was the seventh lifetime win for the Blissfull Hall mare, which will join the nice broodmare band put together by keen Carcoar-based breeders Ray and Peter Connolly. Long Cool Woman brought up win 191 and 189 respectively for her driver and trainer, Amanda and Steve Turnbull, in a 3C O sprint event. She worked to the death seat mid-race and outstayed Aunty Olive,which raced wide for the last lap, and favourite Gabrielle Solis NZ, three-back in the running line . The mile rate was only 2:04.6, but the last half of 59.8 was good on the night. Franco Talon NZ (Amy Day for Garrett Newton) made up for the pair’s second in the opening race by taking out an R2-R3 middle-distance class. Last early before coming three-wide from the bell, the favourite  had a bit in hand to defeat the death-seater Rowan Royal and Ihitthegroundrunning NZ, from the one-one.The overall rate was just 2:05.8, with the last half in 60.1 . Western Burner found the by-now coveted spot outside the leader in the final race, an R0-R1 over 2130 metres, and naturally he won, for Scott Hewitt and trainer-father David. Happy Camper came three-wide from the bell for second, with Jerula’s Mate which had the one –one trail, holding on for third. The times were moderate but the winning margin of 17 metres suggests a repeat win can be expected.

The most potent team in Australian harness racing, team McCarthy, have kicked off what could be an absolutely magical day for them with an early treble.

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